TRANSCEND WOWS WITH ACTORS SHOWCASE!
Written by: Colin Bruce Munro Wood - 12:01 EST - 09/30/2017
This Friday Night, the 29th, I was seduced into seeing a brand new acting troupe's first presentation of performances at the Ti-Ahwaga Performing Arts Center. This group of actors and singers call themselves Transcend.
Transcend is founded by four members who after working on a previous show together, decided to get a theater group of their own started. This weekend, Friday and Saturday night audiences were and will be treated to an Actor's Weekend Showcase, starring the four founding members in various short scenes written for the stage, by Edward Allen Baker, Tennessee Williams, and Maxwell Anderson.
The four members consist of three adults of varied ages, and an astounding 17 year old teenager. They are in no certain order, Talia Saraceno, Kylee Thetga, Paul Sanna and Francesca Decker. Two of whom are taking off for big pastures, to turn their crafts into careers. Francesca is giving up everything and heading for Hollywood, and Talia will take a shot at the Big Apple next!
They performed in four sSoncenes, the first being a song called Sonya Alone from Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. This was performed by the 17 year old Kylee Thetga, and backed by the bass playing of Paul Sanna. Kylee showed potential in being a great singer, with an original sound, and with continued training, can and I'm sure will become a prominent singer in the area.
The second scene of the play was Baker's Up, Down, Strange, Charmed, Beauty and Truth. Honestly, this reviewer had never heard of any of the short plays in this presentation, and this scene started out with dialogue that at first, didn't clearly represent what the scene was about. I had just a little problem understanding some of the dialogue from Paul Sanna, who worked hard at producing a waywardly, out of luck Uncle to Marley, played by Kylee Thetga. But, as the scene progressed, the darkness, and the heart wrenching concept of what was occurring began to dig deep into my soul, and the performances of Kylee and Talia Saraceno, who played Marley's sister Steph were in-depth, emotionally charged, and incredibly well delivered personae, that caused me to forget I was watching a play. That is what you call amazing acting! Both Kylee and Steph, whether they've been trained or not, which is unknown to this reviewer, seemed to show aged, and crafted techniques of acting, from great breathing technique to incredible character development, and excellent use of their bodies in presenting and throwing their emotions on the stage. I walked out of the theater at intermission with tears pouring down my face, as the tragedy of broken families was so beautifully rendered in front of me.
The next scene Mary of Scotland, by Anderson, was a complete and immediate turn around in character for Talia, as she went from a sickly, worn down woman in the previous scene, to a powerful, and Christian woman in Mary. Francesca appeared for the first time on stage as Queen Elizabeth, and gave a perfect, cold, and cunning rendition of the Queen. That, served up with the enticing and deeply tuned performance of Talia as Mary, made for a very professional, and perfectly crafted scene, with all dialect, and accents very well spoken!
Next up for these two fierce starlets of the stage, and who knows, possibly film and television, was Williams short play Something Unspoken, which unsurprisingly for Williams is another one of his writings to shake up the common way. In this short scene we meet two women who obviously live together, and have a relationship, in a time when it was probably still inappropriate to make obvious to the public. So, it seems, they kept it private in their own home. However, the intricacy of Williams shines through when you realize that one of the women in the relationship is also a sub-servant to the other, by acting as her secretary for many many years. I think it was 15, if I remember right. The back story of the scene, is that Cornelia, played by Francesca, is trying to become the President of the Daughters of the Confederacy, but will not accept defeat, and says she will immediately drop out if anyone else runs, and so phone calls ensue between her and another character, all in the mean-time, we are watching two women deal with their "unspoken" love for each other on their Anniversary of becoming a union. Talia played Grace, and offered us a perfect, meek, and harmless woman, as opposed to Francesca's portrayal of a powerful, and cunning lady of society. Again, these two women's strong and very real performances made me forget it was the stage once more, and I was drawn in by their incredible acting abilities, that again seemed as if they had been training for years to produce.
All in all, last night, Friday night, when most often I'm sitting home, I was truly treated to inspiring stories, sacrificial acting, and a new group of enticing actors, and am very thankful for the opportunity to have seen it and review it.
I hope that Transcend continues to grow, and that we see more incredible performances from this new and young group. I think Francesca and Talia are going to do just fine in their next endeavors, and wish them each a broken leg!
On a last note: Kylee Thetga will be around for a while, since she is 17, and I encourage anyone who has the chance to see this young lady act on stage, not to miss it! She has incredible, deeply rooted abilities to perform, and truly made the stage her own!!
They get 5 out of 5 teardrops!!
They get 5 out of 5 teardrops!!
Photo courtesy of: http://tiahwaga.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Interior-1.jpg